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  • Writer's pictureShaun Nestor

A Real Day's Attempt at Positive Mental Health

path cutting through a green forest

I don’t know about you, but diving into Mental Health these past few weeks on Sunday mornings has been nothing but helpful for me. Hearing from Billy, Tom, and Scott, getting their perspectives, and hearing what the Lord has to say to us on the topic has been nothing but encouraging and educational.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to any of the messages, you can find each of them here to go back to (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3). In particular, I really enjoyed all of the practical steps that Scott laid out at the end of his message.

Here they are again in case you missed them:

  • Walk outside

  • Exercise and nutrition

  • Practice controlled breathing

  • Pause

  • Pursue what you love to do

  • Consider counseling

  • Make amends

  • Forgive people

  • Spend time with family and friends (avoid isolation)

  • Read the Scriptures on a daily basis

  • Pray the Psalms/Scriptures

  • Get involved in a group studying the Scriptures

  • Listen to Christian music

  • Begin a relationship with Christ

This list is certainly not an exhaustive, all-inclusive list to get you closer to better mental health, but odds are we can each take a few of these steps, find a way to add them to our lives, and then see the difference.

Likely, you are looking at this list and thinking to yourself “Well, this one doesn’t apply to me” or “I already do that one so I guess that’s not going to help.” Okay. toss those aside for now, perhaps those were meant for someone else or for another time in your life. Look for the ones that seem applicable or helpful to your situation now. 

For me, just this week, there was a day where my entire day felt like it was going sideways. I didn’t sleep well the night before, an already busy day became log-jammed with extended meetings, some unwanted problems sprang up that needed attention, and all of a sudden, the day was slipping away with very little progress being made on what I needed to get done.

In those moments, it can be easy to let my mental health go by the wayside. Get frustrated. Make poor decisions. Want to just get up and leave and pick up the pieces tomorrow.

Instead, I found a moment to pause. There was a natural break in my day when I had to leave the office for an appointment only to return to the office for a rehearsal a few hours later. I could have chosen to run out for the appointment and then come right back into the office and get back to the grind. Instead, I made the choice to go to the gym. Not a habit that I am particularly fond of, but it is becoming increasingly important in this particular season of life.

The forced time away, where my body is physically active while my mind is forced to play a bit of a back seat, often acts as a reset to both my emotions and mental state. Then, on the way back into the office, I threw on some worship music (namely Phil Wickham’s new “I Believe - Hometown Version” album). With the windows down, cruising back in, it was nice to take that moment, breathe, and enjoy a subtle moment of praise.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and act like I have it all figured out mental health-wise. Trust me, I am a wreck, and I could also list all of the ways I failed my mental health that same day (negative thinking, poor eating, going to bed late, etc.) But focusing on the negative in itself is letting poor mental health prevail. It’s like swimming against the current. Every positive motion may only get you a couple inches ahead, though each misstep looks like it’s setting you back by yards.

But that is why we must take these steps. Every inch matters. So whatever that next step is for you, whether it be reading Scripture daily, going outside, seeking counseling, or maybe forgiving someone. Take it. You never know where it may take you.

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Ephesians 4:23-24 NLT

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